April 24, 2020

3 Things I Learned going from Waiting Tables to Building my own Successful Soul-Led Biz.

Elephant’s Continually-updating Coronavirus Diary. ~ Waylon


Back in 2013, at the age of 28, I felt like my best years were behind me.

Yes, I get how dramatic that sounds especially as a 20-something, but I think just about all of us have experienced this exact fear at some point.

I had been a high achiever my entire life, received offers for multiple full-ride scholarships, graduated with honors, and was expected to go on and make something of myself.

And yet, while all my friends were becoming doctors and lawyers, I couldn’t bring myself to take one more step down the path of achievement and trying to meet society’s definition of success.

I couldn’t imagine working for someone else, working my way up in a company just to go from a cubicle to my own office someday, which would still feel like a trap. I just knew deep down that there was no amount of money that could make it worth it to a nature-loving girl like me to be stuck inside at least eight hours every day and not feel the sunshine and fresh air on my face.

So back in 2013, I turned down a promotion in the last office I ever worked in, but making this decision also left me in a precarious position.

For the first time in my life, I had no plan. No idea what I really wanted out of life or how to get it.

I’d always had big, intricate goals and plans in the past that made me feel very much in control, but all I knew at this point was that I wanted to feel free. Finally free.

I wanted to work for myself, I wanted to never worry about money again, and I wanted to be able to work from anywhere in the world.

That’s all I knew and that there were at least a few other people doing it and they often seemed to be writers and mindset coaches. But how did they make money? And how on earth would I get paid to write, and could I really believe that someone would hire me to coach them on their mindset?

Most people (including myself) weren’t really even clear on what that meant.

So I set off on my journey of no longer being an academic, scientist, or anthropologist, but instead a 20-something who wanted to live free, have a positive impact on the world, and somehow be paid for it (as crazy as it sounded).

And in the meantime, I decided I’d do whatever it takes until I got it all figured out. Which led to waiting tables at multiple restaurants and cleaning houses to make ends meet, while trying to launch multiple businesses from a diet tea, to purses on Etsy, personal training, and even health coaching (which I never sold a single session for).

But it all shifted when I stopped trying to figure out how I could make money doing work I enjoyed, which gave me freedom, and instead shifted my focus to “What is my soul work?”

What is the work I was put on this planet to do?

If I had complete freedom to do anything and I knew the money piece would take care of itself, what would I actually be doing?

It’s these questions that led me to my soul work and to starting my “To Living Free” brand back in 2014 that has now impacted millions and made millions.

During this time, when so much has shifted and many are being asked to stay home, there’s an inner dialogue going on in many minds that goes something like this, “Do I really want to go back to that job? And is this actually what I want to do with my life?”

As someone who’s been there, I believe asking ourselves these questions and giving ourselves permission to actually be honest with the answers can change the trajectory of our lives.

Starting your own business most definitely is not for everyone, but if you feel like I did just a few years ago, that there’s deep soul work you’re meant to do on the planet and you’re meant to be working for yourself, then I invite to you to explore what it would look like to be full out living this version of your life starting now.

And here’s three steps that I learned from my own experience to help you tap into your creative juices and open up to new possibilities:

1. Set the “how’s” aside:
The first thing that your rational mind is going to want to do when you give yourself permission to start exploring what your soul work actually is and what it would look like to create a business based around it, is to figure out all the “how’s” of how it would work so that it can feel safe.

But here’s the thing, you cannot know all the “how’s.”

Discovering your soul work and turning it into a successful business is not a paint-by-number experience, but instead something where you know the big vision and you take one aligned step forward at a time. Remember what set me free in my own story was not having a plan for the first time in my life, which left me open to have to do the next step…

2. Get creative:
One thing I know about humans from my background in Anthropology is we are storytellers and creative well beyond our wildest imagination. When you give yourself permission to let go of the “how’s,” drop the plan, and set fear aside for just a minute, you then have the ability to tap into a whole new level of creativity and innovation for your life.

Grab a pen and paper and write down one of my favorite questions to get the creative juices flowing:

“If I gave myself complete permission to create and run my own business in the way I desire and I knew it would work, I would now…”

And let whatever comes out, come out. Repeat this question as often as needed to keep refining and getting clearer on exactly what you really would love to do with your life.

3. Decide to do what it takes:
Creating your own business and doing your soul work isn’t for the faint of heart, if you’re looking for a “get rich quick” option, this isn’t it. But, for those of us who know we’re meant to have our own soul-led business, there is nothing more fulfilling, impactful, and yes, profitable.

But, you will be required to go deep, be vulnerable, stand up for your vision and message even if others don’t support it, and be consistent with it, well, forever. And I can say without a shadow of doubt it’s so worth it.

For me, I’m so grateful I turned down that promotion in the last office I ever worked in back in 2013. You’d think it would have been easy to say no to moving from one windowless office space to another, but that fear of security and being responsible can weigh on us heavily when we start to give ourselves permission to go after our dreams.

But, it was worth it. It was worth it to stay the course, to do what most won’t, to show up consistently, openly, vulnerably over and over again (even here in this article) because it gave me what I really always wanted deep down more than anything—freedom.

I am free to be all of me every single day.

And deep down if you’re reading this, then I know that’s your greatest desire as well.

Now, almost a decade after starting my To Living Free brand, I now have the big following, income, and impact I always dreamed of, but I still stretch and grow in this business almost daily, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And my biggest desire is to help other entrepreneurs, creatives, and visionaries, like you, to have the tools you need to create the profitable soul-led businesses you really desire, so you too can positively change the world and live free.

So be sure to follow me here to make sure you don’t miss the next article in the series. But, first I’d love to hear from you. Do you feel called to start your own soul-led business? What feels like the biggest block in making it happen?

And if you know someone who needs to hear this message, be sure to share this article with them as well because together we can change the world.

To Living Free!




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